Wat Arun is one of the most popular and famous temples in Thailand, located in the heart of Bangkok, and it is easily accessible. Wat Arun is also known by the name Temple of Dawn. In Wat Dawn, you will see a large conical structure and four smaller structures around it.
The temple of dawn is honored by Thai people and residents of Bangkok for four reasons. This temple is a statue of Mount Meru, an important mountain in the Buddhist religion and Thai culture. Meru is a mountain with 5 peaks which is believed to be one of the holy places in Buddhism and Thai culture.
Buddhists believe that the temple of dawn protects people’s lives from sunrise to sunset. Aside from the religious importance of Wat Arun, it is one of the few remaining legacies of Bangkok, which was built before the Chakri Dynasty, the present Kingdom of Thailand.
It is interesting to know that Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple that borrows its name from Aruna, the Hindu sun god! In Hinduism, Aruna is often depicted as a rising red sun. On the other hand, in Thai culture, a collection of religious structures surrounded by a wall and having several entrances is called “Wat.” That is why Wat Arun is also known as the “Temple of Dawn.”
The architecture of Wat Arun
This impressive building of Bangkok is actually a long and elongated tower in the Khmer style, one of the ancient dynasties of Southeast Asia, which is surrounded by 4 smaller minarets. According to various sources, the central tower has a height of 66 to 86 meters and is decorated with ceramic tiles and colorful Chinese mosaics. Interestingly, the entire wall of the tower, even its corners, and cracks are filled with Chinese mosaics, creating a unique and eye-pleasing beauty.
4 steep stairs can be seen on the 4 sides of the central tower, which allow access to the four levels of the tower. The first level is the ground floor, which is accompanied by 4 minarets in the middle tower. The tall and cone-shaped central tower and its accompanying 4 minarets are actually an earthly symbol of the 33 heavens in Buddhist beliefs.
Each of these smaller towers owns a statue of Phra Phai, the god of the winds, riding a white horse. In the Buddhist tradition, the god of winds guards the north, south, east, and west directions.
The stairs of the towers reach two terraces with a steep slope that forms the base of the main tower building. If you climb up the structure, among the stairs, you will come across huge statues of Chinese soldiers that are exaggeratedly large. Also, by examining the parts of this tall tower, you will realize that the different layers are actually a symbol of heaven because they are decorated with good and evil creatures.
For example, between the floors of the tower, you will find niches decorated with half-human creatures known as Kinnari and Kinnara. In Thai literature and legends, Kinari and Kinaras are depicted as young and angelic women whose lower torsos are like birds and, in fact, provide them with the possibility of flying between the worlds of humans and legends.
In addition to these half-angel creatures, scary and devil-like creatures called Yaksha can also be seen on the second floor of Wat Arun. The yakshas surround the building and are, in a way, the guardians of Wat Arun. It is interesting to know that yakshas are important elements not only in Wat Arun’s architecture but also in Thai temples’ architecture and decorations. These creatures have round faces and bulging eyes, and sharp fangs protrude from their mouths. One of the other things that can be seen on the second terrace are images of the Buddha that include important parts of his life, such as his birth and happiness.
Different parts of Wat Arun
In addition to the central tower and four surrounding towers, Wat Arun temple also includes other parts, such as the ceremonial hall, which is located next to the middle tower of the temple and has a beautiful roof and conical domes. The roof of this hall is covered with green and orange bricks and is built in Ayutthaya architectural style. Upon entering this hall, you will see a giant Buddha statue and wall paintings. Around the hall, there is a row of Buddha statues. The temple is also located in the west of the central tower.
Accessibility, location, and timings of Wat Arun (Temple Of Dawn)
- Location: PFVQ+FH9, 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand.
- Timings: every day from 8 am to 6 pm.
- Accessibility: Wat Arun Temple is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. To visit this temple, you can personally use taxis anywhere in the city or visit with tourist tours. You can go to Wat Arun via Arun Amarin Street’s taxis. If you are on the east side of the river, you can reach your destination earlier by using a boat. Boats are placed diagonally in front of Wat Arun. If you plan to go by city buses, you should take bus lines 1, 25, 44, 47, 62, or 91.
Final words about Wat Arun (Temple Of Dawn)
Wat Arun is one of the most unique temples in Thailand and Bangkok, which is also known as the Temple of Dawn. The temple itself dates back to the 17th century, but the minarets go back to the beginning of the 19th century. The unique architectural design of Wat Arun overlooking the river and the beautiful scenery of Bangkok are the reasons that this temple has become famous among tourists and locals.